Value retailer sees growth as CEO hands over control

The Original Factory Shop
The Original Factory Shop
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THE Original Factory Shop has reported growth in annual sales and earnings, attributed to consumers’ desire for “value and convenience”, as outgoing CEO Angela Spindler prepares to hand over the reins to Tony Page.

The business recently announced the appointment of Mr Page as chief executive, He previously headed up Asda’s non-food business, but joins from online cycling and tri-sports business wiggle. Mr Page, who was also previously managing director of Lloyds Pharmacy and commercial and marketing director for Woolworths, is due to take up his post on July 1.

Yesterday, The Original Factory Shop, which positions itself in the value retail sector, announced total sales growth of 10.4 per cent to £162m in the year to the end of March 2013, while earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization rose to around £13m. The company reported a £3.1m fall in earnings to £10.2m last year.

The Original Factory Shop grew out of Peter Black Holdings, one of the biggest suppliers to Marks & Spencer. Its first shop was in Keighley, next to the original Peter Black factory, and was simply called the Factory Shop, selling footwear, luggage and bags originally destined for M&S. Private equity firm Duke Street backed the £69m secondary management buy-out of the company.

Today, the retailer has more than 180 stores, including outlets in Garforth, Ripon, Ilkley, York, Normanton, Otley, Ossett and Bridlington. It typically opens stores in high streets, with local populations of 15,000 or less.

Ms Spindler said: “Our trading across Britain’s small town high streets has been strong as savvy consumers search for quality brands at low prices. Our customers enjoy the convenience of shopping locally and the service they receive from us.”

The company said that like-for-like sales were up 3.7 per cent in the year, while the best performing areas were electrical, pets, men’s sports and Christmas. It said its pre-tax profits were up 34 per cent, but declined to reveal exact figures. The group opened 11 stores in the year, which it said had outperformed its expectations in terms of sales and profitability, and it launched a new website in January. Sales via the website were up 40 per cent year-on-year, the group said, with half the sales processed in store and half from home.

Ms Spindler said: “The new website has been an essential addition and continues to support our online growth. However, we will always be committed to Britain’s small town high streets, and see further scope for a potential network of 450 stores across the UK over the medium term.”

Since the year end, a further three stores have been opened, including in Mexborough, South Yorkshire.

The Original Factory Shop has plans to open another 12 stores in its 2014 financial year.